Ricardo Seitenfus: “Haiti is proof of the failure of international aid”
[Translation of an interview from Le Temps of Geneva, Switzerland, for December 20. See original here and related articles here and here. Several sources reported immediately after the Le Temps interview that Seitenfus had been fired but in an interview in the December 29 Folha of Brazil (here) Seitenfus said he had received no official word on his status.]
By Arnaud Robert
A graduate of the Institut de Hautes Études Internationales (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies) of Geneva, Brazilian Ricardo Seitenfus is 62 years old. He has represented the Organization of American States in Haiti since 2008. He makes a genuine indictiment of international presence in the country.
–Le Temps: Ten thousand Blue Helmets in Haiti. In your opinion, a counterproductive presence…
–Ricardo Seitenfus: The system of dispute prevention within the framework of the UN system is not suitable for the Haitian context. Haiti is not an international threat. We are not in a state of civil war. Haiti is neither Iraq nor Afghanistan. And nevertheless the Security Council, lacking any alternative, has imposed the Blue Helmets since 2004, since the departure of President Aristide. We are here on our eighth UN mission since 1990. Since 1986 and the departure of Jean-Claude Duvalier, Haiti has been in what I call a low-intensity conflict. We are faced with power struggles by political actors who do not respect the democratic process. But it seems to me that essentially, on the international scene, Haiti is paying for its close proximity to the United States. Haiti has been the object of negative attention on the part of the international system. For the UN it was a question of blocking power and turning Haitians into prisoners on their own island. For many, the anxiety of the boat people explains the international community’s decisions concerning Haiti. One wants them, at all costs, to stay home. (more…)